Archive for People from Israel

Improve Your Inductive Reasoning Through Mind360

by on August 5, 2009 at 11:56 pm

LogoRightBeta I recently learned about this cool Israel-based company Mind360, which develops mind games and it’s not just for older folks with aging brains.

As you get older that it’s harder to find where you left your car keys, your brush, even your cup of coffee while you’re running around the house trying to get out in the morning?

The brain is a muscle – I learned a lot about how the brain tools and retrains itself after my grandfather had a stroke. (more…)

Kaltura and Blonde 2.0’s event for Digg’s Matt Van Horn

by on August 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Guest Post written by guest author Ahuvah Berger

Last night Kaltura hosted an intimate gathering in honor of Digg’s Matt Van Horn’s arrival in Israel. The lovely mixer took place at the elegant Benyamin Wine Bar in Tel Aviv and we had a special musical performance by David Broza, an Israeli musical icon. We mingled and schmoozed over delicious wine and food. (more…)

SaaS Goes Open Source: Kaltura’s Yekutiel Tells Us Why

by on July 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Kaltura’s Ron Yekutiel talks to us about open source and video. They organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel at AlwaysOn this week, together with SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco.

It’s disruptive he says, but tears down those gardened walls giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. More from Ron on the SaaS model, video and open source below.

My6Sense Updates Us

by on July 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Barak Hachamov and the My6Sense team gathers in Palo Alto to talk about their updates and upcoming iPhone app.

Staying Put for a While

by on July 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm

5372_116225402937_561367937_3052162_5256958_nI'm about one-third of the way through my 18-month death-march around the world seeking its best entrepreneurs, or as I call it in polite conversation, work on my new book. It's time for a break. Aside from a few day trips here or there I'm sticking in San Francisco for the next six weeks where I'll try to be a better blogger for TechCrunch, a more reliable columnist for BusinessWeek and get more actual writing on the book banged out. I'm going to keep working on learning Portuguese and Mandarin. I'm going to cook dinner for my husband. I'm going to reintroduce myself to my much-stood-up Pilates trainer. And I may even attempt to have a social life again.

I feel mixed about it. Most of me is screaming out for a break from 20-hour flights, endless meetings and the frustration that comes with interviewing someone from a totally different culture, who is frequently speaking a totally different language. (See photo to the right– just moments before a speaking gig. See sadder photo below. Human rights groups are investigating.) On Thursday as I was packing up to leave my hotel in London, scouring for every stray sock or earring, wondering what I'd leave behind this time (sunglasses as it turned out), and hoping I'd allotted enough time for customs, security and the like– I had a crushing feeling of I desperately, desperately need a month off!

3734304250_a2f375fe5c But as I reflect on everything I've seen and experienced during the 10 weeks I've spent in Israel, Rwanda, China and London, another part of me can't wait to get back on the road. When I set out to write this book, I didn't totally know what I was getting into, aside from the hope that it'd be important and the certainty that it'd be life-changing on a personal level. The first few months I felt a bit lost and concerned, but now, six months in, it's coming together. I've written several thousand words, discovered stories so dramatic they could be made into films and the big macro themes of book are shaping themselves in my head every day. The book is becoming less of an epidsodic travel narrative and more of a, well, book. As much work as there is ahead, I know now I've got something, and that's a huge relief. (See photo to below taken in a happier, more rested moment. Although note my sad, tired computer is missing an "R" key.) 3701043555_d0048be548

So as I pause for a bit, I wanted to thank everyone who's made the whole thing possible thus far: Dan Nova for introducing me to Rwanda, Roi Carthy and Orli Yakuel for being my den mothers in Israel, Tom Limongello for, well, everything in China, and Paul Carr for being my unofficial personal assistant in London, while Rachel Bremer set me up with some of the most impressive companies I've seen in the UK to date. Huge thanks also to Endeavor– the experts in emerging world entrepreneurship, and to BusinessWeek and TechCrunch for being endlessly supportive of this suicide-mission. And, of course, Olivia for taking care of the kitties in my absence, and Mr. Lacy for somehow putting up with all of this.

After the break, I'll finish the year with Brazil, China, India, and back to Israel. As always, let me know anyone I must meet.

[PHOTO CREDITS: Ayelett Noff, JD Lasica, Craig Newmark]

Every Israeli Has a Pitch

by on June 16, 2009 at 5:22 am

We interviewed multiple entrepeneurs and movers and shakers at the inaugural Israel Conference in LA a couple of weeks ago. The result? A four part video series which you can tune into below.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Also on YouTube although the full content is included here. Links: Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Startups Need Stories

by on June 12, 2009 at 6:38 pm

The final panel at The Israel Conference crowded themselves onto the stage, three judges and five digital entertainment start-ups in a simulated Hollywood pitch meeting.

Photo of last panel

The most valuable lesson was the insight into how ideas are sold in the entertainment industry.  Apparently, the people who write the checks have attention spans that make Twitter seem like Tolstoy.   Or perhaps it’s just that in Hollywood pitching stories is the norm, so people need a narrative.

Like the rest of us, really.  When the judges looked bored their expressions were matched by the members of the audience.  One of the threads woven through the day’s panels was that we need to tell good stories.   The themes of Israeli character were brought up again and again, usually in the context of a story.  The conference included a surprise visit (and story) from Lou Lenart, one of the heroes of Israel’s war of independence.

Perhaps the most illustrative example on the panel was when Yosi Glick pitched Jinni, a movie search engine that helps you choose films based on search terms that have meaning and texture rather than flat keywords with no emotional content. Think – “I’m in the mood for…” instead of “Where are your action movies?”

Here’s how Glick, the company’s president, started: “I don’t know what movies my wife likes and I’ve been married to her for 24 years.  Plus I have no idea what her mood is.  So I have a challenge, because I want to save my marriage.”   His business idea was going to be the cavalry in his life’s own romantic comedy, and we were ready to buy tickets.

Shortly after he went to the slide presentation we started to get lost.  Most demos can’t avoid the PowerPointed details, but it all should feed the story – one of the judges, David Wertenheimer of USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, even suggested that he have some slides at the front and back of the presentation, at first fighting over a movie choice and at the end watching happily into the sunset. 

The other presentations are in streaming video available at the conference link above.  It’s worth a look, both for the content of the pitches and for the process itself.

A Month in Israel

by on February 20, 2009 at 12:52 am

Jeff Saperstein writes about his month in Israel; the War in Gaza here and his posts over a month period talk about tourist sites as well as his reflections about the region in general.

An excerpt here of what he says about Gaza:
“Gaza from a distance looks like any city and it is hard to comprehend how centers of population that are so close to each other can be so different and hostile. I joked to one of the Alumim kibbutzniks that when I return to the Bay Area I will be able to tell the difference between artillary shells and sonic booms should they happen in San Francisco.

But the joke does have a larger meaning. We do not worry when our children go to school whether they will be blown up in the school bus. When our kids leave home to university we do not worry they will be in harms way as the Israelis do when their children serve in the army. We do not have barbed wire fences around the perimeter of our communities as they do here in Alumim. We do not have security people checking our bags when we go to stores, malls and restaurants. In many ways every day Israelis are reminded that there are people who are always trying to kill them and their loved ones.”

Once upon a time, I lived on a kibbutz

by on June 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Returning to Israel after so many years was more than a rendezvous with nostalgia. My current life as a publicist, entrepreneur and blogger met the former me, a teenage girl with a pony-tail on an adventure that more than shaped the rest of her life.

This story is a very long one and not typical of my regular blog posts. For that reason, I’ve shortened the introduction – click on more if you’re interested in reading the entire piece. It’s a story of a journey back in time, back to Israel and the life I knew 23′ish years ago, hitching and living on the road and working on a far left Zionist kibbutz, a fact I didn’t know when I first arrived.

My first experience in Israel was a coming-of-age story in countless ways. I never saw Israel as a new country full of immigrants who went there to find a better life for many of the same reasons the oppressed and the misfits flocked to the States at the turn of the century.

Nearly all of my encounters during that trip so many years ago were with misfits — misfits who were on a journey to find themselves and each other. They came from nearly every corner of the world, had a wide range of belief systems and religions, and ranged from 17 to 70.


Poor Valley Girl!

by on May 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

In a busy day for tech news– with CNET getting bought, Carl Ichan is causing more troubles for Yahoo, and OF COURSE my book coming out officially– I hope someone will check out my latest Valley Girl column on BusinessWeek about Israel’s startup scene. As you know, if you read this blog, I spent a week in Israel in April and was a frustrating and enlightening experience. Sounds contradictory? Than it was an Israeli experience.

This was an incredibly hard column to write, because Israel is such a complex and contradictory place. At the heart of the column are a few questions for the tiny but very entrepreneurial country, which I think is at a bit of a crossroads: Will Israel always be Silicon Valley’s farm team or emerge as a tech hub independent of the Valley? Should it aspire to that? Can Israeli entrepreneurs make great Web entrepreneurs?

Take a look! Give my column some love!

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